"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, December 6, 2021

Armenian Artefacts on the Silk Road

This exciting book brings together my two favourite Oriental Orthodox churches, the Ethiopian and Armenian in a fascinating survey of cross-cultural economic exchanges down a celebrated route: the Silk Road, especially in its western stretches: Christiane Esche-Ramshorn, East-West Artistic Transfer through Rome, Armenia and the Silk Road: Sharing St. Peter's (Routledge, 2021), 224pp. The publisher provides the following blurb, giving us additional details: 

This book examines the arts and artistic exchanges at the ‘Christian Oriental’ fringes of Europe, especially Armenia.

It starts with the architecture, history and inhabitants of the lesser known pilgrim compounds at the Vatican in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, of Hungary, Germany, but namely those of the most ancient of Churches, the Churches of the Christian Orient Ethiopia and Armenia. Without taking an Eurocentric view, this book explores the role of missionaries, merchants, artists (for example Momik, Giotto, Minas, Domenico Veneziano, Duerer), and artefacts (such as fabrics, inscriptions and symbols) travelling into both directions along the western stretch of the Silk Road between Ayas (Cilicia), ancient Armenia and North-western Iran. This area was truly global before globalization, was a site of intense cultural exchanges and East-West cultural transmissions. This book opens a new research window into the culturally mixed landscapes in the Christian Orient, the Middle East and North-eastern Africa by taking into consideration their many indigenous and foreign artistic components and embeds Armenian arts into today’s wider art historical discourse.

This book will be of interest to scholars in art history, architectural history, missions, trade, Middle Eastern arts and the arts of the Southern Caucasus.

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